What is a Supply Chain Control Tower?

supply chain control towerA supply chain control tower is a central hub with the required technology, organization, and processes to efficiently capture and use transportation data. Control towers use real-time data that provides supply chain managers with enhanced visibility for short- and long-term decision-making. Although each supply chain may be unique, a supply chain control tower can offer common goals to all.

What a Control Tower Is Not

There are a few common misconceptions about control towers. To understand what a control tower is, here are a few things that it is not:

  • It is not a physical tower
  • It is not the same as a 3PL or 4PL
  • It does not directly communicate with drivers, pilots, or captains
  • It does not control production, storage, or procurement/sourcing

What a Control Tower Is 

  • It is a centrally coordinated framework for logistics activities
  • It is managed by qualified personnel
  • It is powered by specialized technology
  • It is intended to support the efficiency goals of the broader organization

Supply Chain Control Tower Benefits

Control towers add value to supply chain management through easy access to big data and real-time analytics. Leveraging the power of supply chain data, a company can do the following:

  • Provide end-to-end supply chain visibility to all stakeholders
  • Minimize supply chain risk, costs, and exceptions
  • Encourage collaboration throughout the chain
  • Respond to and resolve supply chain disruptions in real-time
  • Use predictive data for more accurate forecasting and decision-making
  • Track fuel consumption, vehicle speed, location, and delivery time estimates

Why Implement a Control Tower?

Companies that have complex global supply chains are especially well suited for control towers. Real-time networks eliminate information delays while increasing optimization thanks to fresh data that reflects the reality of the current supply chain. Implementing a supply chain control tower can help you increase your inventory turns, reduce expedite costs, and reduce material shortages.

A control tower can push your business to the next level with autonomous decision-making and end-to-end visibility. Implementing a control tower is no easy task, but the benefits far outweigh the costs. Control towers are proof that automation and real-time data are the future of the global supply chain industry.